Looking Back on 2017

With over 900 posts (!!), A Writer of History now contains a lot of topics that have interested readers. During 2017, some posts stood out. The topics varied from WWI Fiction to creating historical characters. I hope you find a few that interest you.

Pictures = Thousands of Words

I’m in edit mode on my newest manuscript called variously Camille and Mariele, Acts of Rebellion, or A Time of Rebellion [MKT: now called Paris in Ruins]. As I go through the pages with the usual angst about whether my writing is any good, whether my publisher will like it, and whether the structure hangs together, I’ve been identifying photos that have provided inspiration …

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

In an earlier post Books Books Books, I included a long list of award-winning historical fiction. This post takes a look at what readers say about Life After Life by Kate Atkinson as an example of successful historical fiction.

Fatal Attraction – Margaret George Talks about Nero

Margaret George spoke about her novel The Confessions of Young Nero. I asked her: What does it take to write such a novel? How does an author feel about her very real character? 

Davide Mana on Successful Historical Fiction

Author Davide Mana generated a lot of interest with his guest post on successful historical fiction – a theme for 2017.

Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This post features a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh that struck a chord with me and with readers: “the answer is not in the feverish pursuit of centrifugal activities which only lead in the end to fragmentation. On the contrary, woman must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today. Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought of reading, of study or work.”

Dynamic Pacing 

A summary of a talk given by agent Irene Goodman and author Selden Edwards on pacing which is the speed and intensity at which events of the plot unfold. This post contains 17 tips which were summarized at the end of the talk.

Mess, Mess, Mess, Mess – Art

Geraldine Brooks was one of two keynote speakers at the Historical Novel Society conference in 2017. She spoke about her writing process.

Weaving the Twin-Stranded Storyline

Dual timeline novels – something Susanna Kearsley excels at – was the subject of her workshop at the Historical Novel Society conference in 2017.

WWI Fiction – Readers Have Their Say

In 2017, I conducted a survey of WWI fiction. This post shows the results.

Historical Perspective – Appealing to Modern Readers

Author Cryssa Bazos talks about creating historical characters: Character is the bridge to the distant past. Exploring the nature of a character from the past, whether fictional or historical, requires embracing what makes them different, even if that means showing how their perspective differs from how we think today. It’s only through balancing this with the commonality of human nature that we can appeal to modern audiences.

The Alice Network with Kate Quinn

After reading The Alice Network – loved it! – I spoke with the author, Kate Quinn

Book Titles – What’s Their Purpose?

What does a book title do for you? Does it entice? Does it hint at the novel’s story? Does it reflect your personal circumstances? Does it confuse? A post about choosing a title for one of my novels.

Characters – You Need to Know What They Look Like

Writing any kind of fiction involves an intense relationship with your characters. I’ve read of other authors creating a bulletin board with photos of their characters so they can easily bring them to mind. In this post, I’ve shared pictures of two characters – the admiral and the wife – in my as-yet-unpublished novel The Admiral’s Wife.

You can also check popular posts from other years: 2012, 20132014, 2015, 2016

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Favourite WWI Novels

Not long ago I posted Favourite WWI Novels – A Teaser, which included just a few of the novels readers mentioned in a survey of WWI fiction. I’ve now tabulated all 296 responses (over 600 books cited) to discover that readers mentioned 223 different books!

Drumroll please … the top six books are:

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (43 mentions)
  2. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (42)
  3. Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker (36)
  4. Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear (29)
  5. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (23)
  6. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (19)

In addition, Charles Todd’s various novels from the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford series were mentioned 29 times.

After A Farewell to Arms, numbers fall off to 9 mentions for each of Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery and War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.

When time permits, I’ll publish a complete list of novels recommended by readers.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

 

Favourite WWI Fiction – a teaser

On a survey about WWI fiction I asked participants to name a few favourite novels set in that time. Here’s a sampling of those mentioned. I’ll be back with a more complete report when time permits.

  • To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield
  • The Horizon by Douglas Reeman
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts neues) by Erich Maria Remarque
  • For Two Cents, I’ll Go With You by Marcia Maxwell
  • The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Britain
  • The Flowers of the Field by Sarah Harrison
  • In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
  • We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
  • I’ll Bring You Buttercups by Elizabeth Elgin
  • At the Going Down of the Sun by Elizabeth Darrell
  • The Soldier’s Bride by Maggie Ford
  • The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • Never Forget Me by Marguerite Kaye
  • A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
  • The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (non-fiction)
  • The Absolutist by John Boyne
  • The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
  • Fall of Poppies – short stories by eight different authors
  • At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole
  • Time and Regret by M.K. Tod (!!!)

Well friends, definitely lots to choose from. I’ll be back with more information.

You can find other information about the WWI survey at WWI Fiction – Readers Have Their Say.